12 - 13 NOVEMBER 2015

Prague European Summit

EU Institutions Fit for External Challenges



Welcome Words / Vladimír Bartovic, , Petr Kratochvíl

Profiles: Vladimír Bartovic, , Petr Kratochvíl

Plenary Panel I: EU Institutions Fit for Crisis Management / Steven Blockmans, Ivo Šlosarčík, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga

As the Eurozone crisis unfolded and measures were adopted to counter it, accelerated inter-institutional dynamics brought about a shift in the balance between EU institutions. At the same time, a fissure is growing which separates Eurozone members and their informal institutions from the formal decision-making of the 28. Are EU institutions prepared to deal with future challenges? What recalibrations of the EU´s set-up are needed to ensure a suitable balance between the main institutions? How can we ensure that the growing gap between the Eurozone and the non-members is overcome?

Steven Blockmans, Head of EU Foreign Policy, Centre for European PolicyStudies, Brussels

Thierry Chopin, Research Director at the Robert Schuman Foundation, Paris

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former President of Latvia and Vice-Chair of the Reflection Group on the long term future of Europe

Chair: Ivo Šlosarčíkprofessor of European Integration Studies and Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law at Charles University in Prague

Profiles: Steven Blockmans, Ivo Šlosarčík, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga

Key-Note Speech / Lubomír Zaorálek

Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

Profiles: Lubomír Zaorálek

Visegrád Ministers´ Panel: How to Enhance Central European Clout in the Discussions on EU Institutional Reforms? / Petr Kratochvíl, Artur Nowak-Far, Lubomír Zaorálek

The financial crisis, the refugees problematique and the increasingly contested legitimacy of the EU combined pose one of the gravest challenges to the integration process ever. The growing Eurosceptic tendencies are palpable not only in the UK but also elsewhere in the EU including in Central Europe. The triple conundrum this panel will address is how to prevent further fragmentation of the EU, how to reinvigorate the Visegrad cooperation and how to make the V4 constructive partners within the EU. This panel shall explore whether the basic interests of the Visegrad countries are in harmony and whether the V4 countries can become agenda setters for the institutional changes, policy adaptation or even treaty revisions needed for the EU to find new dynamics. How can we encourage the centripetal tendencies in the Visegrad Four? How can we change the deteriorating public perceptions of the EU in the V4 countries? Is the danger of the V4 falling apart – or even of some of them leaving the EU - real? In terms of further EU integration, is it in the interests of the V4 countries that EU institutions (such as the European Commission) gain more powers? If yes, in what areas – external policies, monetary policy, fiscal policies, migration and asylum, or elsewhere? What is the role for the V4 in this regard? Is there a common Visegrad stance on any of these issues?

Miroslav Lajčák, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary

Artur Nowak-Far, Undersecretary of State for Legal Treaty and Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Poland

Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

Moderator: Petr Kratochvíl, Director of the Institute of International Relations, Prague

Profiles: Petr Kratochvíl, Artur Nowak-Far, Lubomír Zaorálek

Plenary Panel II: Re-enchanting the European dream: are we still capable of living together? / Gordan Bakota, Dragoljuba Benčina, Beata Jaczewska, Martin Michelot, Tomáš Sedláček,

Tensions surrounding the European social model have flared up, as the idea of the welfare state has come under stress from the ongoing pressures of the economic crisis. The multiple uses of the notion of solidarity in the past few years have contributed to increasing intra-European divides, for example in the continued support of Greece by the so-called “fiscally responsible” northern EU member states, or solidarity of newer member states in supporting the intake of refugees, are symbols of how these tensions have paved the way for a rethinking of the way we live together. Politicians, populist or sometimes not, have seized on these new fault lines to question the idea of the European model, at a time when refugees continue to pour in the continent to live their European dream. What are the tools at our disposal to give a new life to this European dream? Is the welfare state set to undergo deep adaptations to fit the new European realities? How do we foresee intra- European divisions evolving, and how will European solidarity continue to be affected? Do they have repercussion on the ability of the EU to project power and effect change abroad?

Dragoljuba Benčina, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia

Gordan Bakota, Coordinator for the V4 countries, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia 

Martin Michelot, Head of Research, EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, Prague

Tomáš Sedláček, Chief Macroeconomic Strategist at ČSOB

Jiří Schneider, Senior Fellow, Prague Security Studies Institute

Chair: Beata Jaczewska, Executive Director at International Visegrad Fund

Profiles: Gordan Bakota, Dragoljuba Benčina, Beata Jaczewska, Martin Michelot, Tomáš Sedláček,

Key-Note Speech / Frans Timmermans

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission

What changes do EU institutions need in order to address new challenges?

Profiles: Frans Timmermans

Plenary Panel III: Enhanced European Neighbourhood Policy / Vladimír Bilčík, Anthony Dworkin, Barbara Lippert, Marc Pierini, Věra Řiháčková

This panel will provide an opportunity to discuss the European Commission’s proposal of a revised European Neighbourhood Policy as well as drafts of a new EU strategy for external action. It will shed light on the new formats of cooperation with the EU ́s neighbours and on the process of differentiation in the EU ́s approach to them. Is the EU ́s position as presented at the Riga Summit an appropriate foundation for the new EaP? Is the EU prepared to fully commit itself to a special partnership and/or eventual membership of the most advanced partners? Is further differentiation between the East and the South needed? What approach should the EU take regarding the special cases of regimes such as Belarus and Azerbaijan?

Vladimír Bilčík, Head of EU Program, Research Center of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association, Bratislava

Anthony Dworkin, Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations, London

Barbara Lippert, Executive Board Director of Research, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin

Marc Pierini, visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe and former EU ambassador in MENA countries

Chair: Věra Řiháčková, Secretariat of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and Associated Fellow, EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, Prague

Profiles: Vladimír Bilčík, Anthony Dworkin, Barbara Lippert, Marc Pierini, Věra Řiháčková

Breakout Sessions: Major Challenges in our Neighbourhood, Session A: Ukraine: How to avert yet another frozen conflict in Europe? / Martin Bútora, Iryna Solonenko, David Stulík, Asle Toje

The crisis in Ukraine and conflict with Russia has been among the most defining events of current EU external policy. This panel will review the common European response and propose tracks to settle the situation in our Eastern Neighbourhood. Does the EU possess effective tools to assist Ukraine in its European perspective? Is the EU able to respond to destructive Russian policies?

Iryna Solonenko, Researcher, European University Viadrina, Associate fellow at the DGAP’s Robert Bosch Center for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia

David Stulík, Press and Information Officer, Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine

Asle Toje, Research Director, Norwegian Nobel Institute, Oslo

Chair: Martin Bútora, Honorary President, Institute for Public Affairs, Bratislava

Profiles: Martin Bútora, Iryna Solonenko, David Stulík, Asle Toje

Breakout Sessions: Major Challenges in our Neighbourhood, Session B: DAESH: How to defeat the so - called Islamic State and prevent the formation of other such organizations in the MENA region? / Shmuel Bar, Roland Freudenstein, Jana Hybášková, Antonio Missiroli, Milan Nič

Despite the campaign of the international coalition against ISIL, the terrorist organization is still capable of expanding its territory and destabilizing the region. Moreover other ISIL-inspired groups in Libya and elsewhere are trying to follow its tactics and strategies. The very existence of ISIL poses a direct security threat for European countries through foreign fighters. What can the EU do in order to help defeat the so-called Islamic State and prevent the formation of other similar territorial terrorist organizations in the destabilised and failed states of the Middle East and Africa?

Shmuel Bar, Senior Research Fellow, The Samuel Neaman Institute for Public Policy, Technion University, Haifa

Jana Hybášková, former Head of the Delegation of the EU to Iraq, Head of the Delegation of the EU to Namibia

Roland Freudenstein, Deputy Director and Head of Research at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Brussels

Antonio Missiroli, Director, European Union Institute for Security Studies, Paris

Chair: Milan Nič, Managing Director, Central European Policy Institute, Bratislava

Profiles: Shmuel Bar, Roland Freudenstein, Jana Hybášková, Antonio Missiroli, Milan Nič

Breakout Sessions: Major Challenges in our Neighbourhood, Session C: The Mediterranean: How to prevent the human tragedies at sea and adopt a viable and sustainable European immigration policy? / , Polly Pallister-Wilkins, Eduard Soler i Lecha, Benjamin Tallis

The Central Mediterranean has seen a terrifying increase in deaths of people sailing to Europe to seek refuge. The EU has adopted a number of measures to address the current asylum crisis from different angles. This breakout session will provide an opportunity to review efforts on the part of the European Commission and the Member States, especially the European Agenda on Migration and the adoption of its key actions.

Eduard Soler i Lecha, Senior Research Fellow, Research Coordinator, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs

Polly Pallister-Wilkins, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam

Benjamin Tallis, Researcher and Co-ordinator of the Centre for European Security, Institute of International Relations, Prague

Chair: Radko Hokovský, Executive Director, European Values Think-Tank, Prague

Profiles: , Polly Pallister-Wilkins, Eduard Soler i Lecha, Benjamin Tallis

Plenary Panel IV: Towards an EU 'Global Strategy': How to Combine Ambition and Realism, Ends and Means, an Inclusive Process with an Incisive Outcome? / Annegret Bendiek, David Král, Zoltan Martinusz, Antonio Missiroli, Stuart Summers

The 25 June European Council invited High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini to work on a new EU "global strategy on foreign andsecurity policy" to be delivered by June 2016. Based on her recent report on the changes in the global environment, a comprehensive outreach andconsultation process has been set in motion with a view to reaching an agreement among the 28 EU member states on a sustainable platform for the Union's common external action in the years to come. What are the policy priorities on which to concentrate limited resources? How can we join upwhat the member states do and what the EU does (across and through its institutions and bodies) in order to defend our common interests and valuesand contribute to a viable, peaceful and fair new international order?

Annegret Bendiek, Senior Associate, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin

Zoltan Martinusz, Director, Enlargement, Security, Foreign Affairs Council Support, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, Brussels

David Král, Head of the Policy Planning Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

Stuart Summers, Adviser, European External Action Service (EEAS)

Chair: Antonio Missiroli, Director, European Union Institute for Security Studies, Paris

Profiles: Annegret Bendiek, David Král, Zoltan Martinusz, Antonio Missiroli, Stuart Summers

High Level Ministerial Panel: How to Restart the Pending Process of the Western Balkans Enlargement? / Štefan Fule

The political guidelines of the Juncker European Commission state that the EU needs to digest the addition of 13 new member states and that there will be no enlargement in five years. Is this a shared opinion of all EU member states? Are there still strong advocates of the EU enlargement process? Does the slowdown in enlargement contribute to the growing tensions in the region? What can be done to set the enlargement process back on track?

  • Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the Western Balkans countries

Chair: Štefan Füle, former European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy

Profiles: Štefan Fule

Speakers List

International Programme Board

The International Programme Board is the key advisory body of the Prague European Summit. It meets on a regular basis, at least once a year. The International Programme Board is comprised of leading international thinkers who care about the future of European integration. The Board is essential in shaping the substantive part of the Prague European Summit, and its tasks include the formulation of programme priorities for the upcoming Summit in June 2021 as well as innovative suggestions regarding the Summit´s structure, its side-events and its output.



Over the years, the Prague European Summit has appeared in major Czech and foreign media outlets.

Photos Day 1

Photos Day 2

Spot & Videos



About PES:
The Prague European Summit is conceived as a platform for a regular high-level strategic debate on the future of the European Union. Its goal is to look for common answers to the key challenges that Europe is facing in the economic, social, foreign-policy and institutional fields.

As an initiative of the consortium of three prominent Czech think-tanks (the Institute of International Relations, European Values and EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy) carried out under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic, it will offer space for an informal dialogue among political representatives, high-ranking state officials, representatives of interest groups, businessmen, academicians and journalists.

By hosting this regular summit on the future of European integration in Prague, the organizers want to contribute to recasting the image of the Czech Republic as a member country which self-confidently yet constructively joins the strategic discussions on the course of the EU. The ambition of the Prague European Summit is to become analogous to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Munich Security Conference or GLOBSEC in Bratislava, and its main focus is on the strategic issues of European integration – a topic that has not been covered by any existing forum yet.

About conference
The conference is organized in the framework of the Prague European Summit, a new platform for strategic dialogue about common responses to new challenges the European Union needs to deal with in different areas. Following this year pilot conference, the first annual summit shall take place in June 2016.

The topic of the first year reflects the current state of the integration process. On one hand the economic crisis has been overcome, and in reaction to it the economic governance in the Eurozone and in the EU as a whole has been fundamentally transformed. On the other hand in the fields of foreign and security policy the EU faces the fundamental challenge of the destabilization of its neighbourhood, including the aggressive policy of Russia towards Ukraine and the aspirations of the so-called Islamic State in the southern and south-eastern neighbourhood. These changes in the strategic environment call, now much more than any time before, for effective work on the part of the EU institutions, which will, at the same time, need sufficient democratic legitimacy. The aim of this year’s conference is therefore to re-think both the inner institutional setting of the EU and the impact its decision-making mechanisms will have on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU.


European Values

EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy

Institute of International Relations


Over the years, the Prague European Summit has appeared in major Czech and foreign media outlets, such as Politico, EUobserver, Czech Television, Czech News Agency, Hospodářské noviny or iDNES.cz. See the attached PDF.


The logo of the Prague European Summit in the EPS format


Policy papers

Consequences of the economic crisis have not yet fully faded away and Europe has to face yet another series of major challenges emerging from its close neighbourhood. Different kinds of crises have forced the leaders of the European Union to meet at extraordinary summits and discuss their common actions. In Eastern Europe we are faced with the Russian aggression against Ukraine, to the south-east we experience the rise of the so called Islamic State destabilising the whole region, and from the southern coast of the Mediterranean an ever increasing number of refugees arrive to seek asylum in Europe, yet too often find death at the sea. These external challenges require quick and resolute responses from the European Union, and therefore decision-making mechanisms and institutional structures, which will allow us to deliver solutions expected by our citizens. Are EU institutions fit for the new external challenges? And how can their functioning be improved in order to meet them?

By Věra Řiháčková and Jeff Lovitt.

The refusal of President Viktor Yanukovych to sign the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union (EU) at the Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit on 28-29 November 2013 marked a turning point that triggered the momentous events of 2014. The legacy of the Yanukovych government included the worst business climate of all six Eastern Partner countries, a dysfunctional judiciary and law enforcement authorities, and endemic corruption.

A key to the reform process will be the establishment of a culture of more inclusive policymaking, working closely with civil society and strategic international partners, such as the EU. Most importantly, the Ukrainian people need to be convinced that the political forces in power at national and local level are sincerely committed to long-term, sustained reforms in policymaking and implementation. In turn, the EU must sustain pressure on all democratic actors in Ukraine to work together for open government, rule of law, respect for and engagement with independent media, and the pursuit of a long-term commitment to public administration reform and democratic renewal.


By Petr Kratochvíl, Vít Beneš, Benjamin Tallis and Michal Šimečka.

The refugee crisis can become – in spite of the underlying tragedy – a moment of glory for the European Union. Suffering from crises of both identity and confidence, the EU can find itself again by drawing inspiration from its history and values and renew its purpose at home and abroad. If the EU manages to reform its outdated migration and asylum policies, offering the war refugees a friendly welcome, it will prove that the fears of its weakness are exaggerated and the rumours about its erosion are unfounded. If decisive action is taken by European leaders, the result will be of benefit for both the refugees and the societies as well as economies of the recipient countries. War refugees – and even economic migrants – are not a threat; they are an opportunity for the EU to prove that it still stands firm on the principles of peace, solidarity and openness, on which it had been originally built.


By Shmuel Bar.

The Arab state system that evolved during the second half of the 20th century has collapsed in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia, with potential for Lebanon and Jordan to follow. The breakdown of the nation state and of borders in the Middle East has precipitated a regression to fundamental religious-sectarian and tribal identities. The rise of the “Islamic State” (“al-dawlah al-islamiyah”) is a watershed event for the Middle East and the regions affected by it. This paper examines the sources of the appeal of the “Islamic State”, the prospects for its military and ideological defeat, it also addresses the question in what manner and with what means can the international community in general and the EU in particular meet the challenge.



The Prague European Summit was established under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic and the City of Prague.


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